Filed under: Healthy Swellness

Healthy Swellness: Brita Longlast Filter

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If you’ve followed me for a little while, you may know that I don’t drink very much water. Wine, cocktails, juices, coffee, tea but drinking water (other than during my runs) has always been a struggle.

Both my Bonne O and my SodaStream have helped, though, so I now happily hydrate more often. Not a lot by any means, but even just a glass or two a day (I now have about two a day) is very much an improvement for me.

Having filtered water has also helped, and I was happy to learn about Brita‘s new product, the Longlast Filter. Because if you’re anything like me, you’re maybe not so diligent about changing your Brita filter when you’re supposed to, and their BPA-Free Brita Longlast Filter ($39.99 for a pack of two filters) provides up to six months of filtering. That means you only have to change it twice a year—do it now with the new year here and you’re good until June!

This is three times longer than their standard filter, and this new filter is also able to filter out contaminants like lead, asbestos and cadmium from tap water (but it leaves in the fluoride, which, as you may know promotes dental health).

At the P&G roundtable I attended a couple of  months ago, we all talked about how drinking water is so important. Janet Tamo encouraged drinking plain tap water, but I need the bubbles and lime or lemon to make it a little more palatable, and I’m going to try to add drinking one cup with lemon in the a.m. as a new morning ritual (but I’m not giving up my coffee!).

The Brita Longlast Filter is in stores now, by the way, where you’d expect to find them (Amazon, Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc.).

Happy hydrating!

 

Leave a Comment January 26, 2018

Healthy Swellness: Making sleep a priority

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Although I’ve gone through periods of insomnia, for the most part, I”m a pretty good sleeper. I fall asleep quickly, and generally stay asleep through the night. My main issue is that I don’t make sleep a priority. I’m naturally a night owl and spoke to sleep experts a couple of years ago about this, and one doctor noted that my main problem is just not valuing sleep enough.

And he is right about that. I always see more things to get done on my to-do list, or there’s another TV show I want to watch, or maybe there’s something super, super important someone posted on Instagram that I must see ASAP (PSA: there never is). And yet I continue to struggle with making sleep a priority, and that’s even knowing that my body needs that downtime to recuperate. Knowing that it’d help with my running. And knowing it’d help me feel refreshed for the day instead of like I need an IV of coffee to get me feeling human.

And so, this year I’m looking to make sleep more of a priority. Self care is so important and I need to make that my focus. My goal is to get a good eight-hours of sleep a night, on a regular schedule. This will not be an easy task; I’ve been struggling with this ever since writing that article about being a night owl.

But I’m going to approach it with a plan now. I’m going to set an alarm to remind me to start winding my night down with taking Billie Jean for her evening walk, doing my nighttime beauty routine, etc. And I’m going to make my bedroom a sleeping haven with a new mattress and pillows. My current mattress is probably about a decade old and there’s definitely at least one spring out of place.

To replace it, I’m welcoming an Endy mattress and pillows into my home. Why Endy? To start, I like that there’s a 100-day trial period; I’ve always found it hard to judge from a quick lie-down in a store. This Canadian company (another selling point!) also features three layers of foam, which I hear are medium firm (I tend to prefer a decent level of firmness). Another standout feature? I run really warm; I’m not a furnace like I used to be (that was thanks to my overactive thyroid) but still warmer than most folks.So Endy’s top layer, infused with cooling gel, is designed to release body heat. Plus, its foam is non-temperature-sensitive—so while other foam mattresses sink in the summer and feel like a rock in the winter, Endy retains the same firmness year-round.

Stay tuned for updates on how it goes with my new soon-to-arrive Endy and whether I become the sleeping beauty I aim to become.

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Also, this probably calls for some cute new pyjamas, too, don’t you think? I’ve been coveting the Sleep Shirt for more than a  year now…

Disclosure: I am an Endy partner and am receiving Endy products for review.

1 Comment January 22, 2018

Healthy Swellness: 2017 in review

 Best Nine 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I will tell you I don’t really want to reflect on what’s been a very hard year. But I will because it’ll help me move forward and motivate me to work on making next year better. Up above is my best nine as determined by that site, and yes, there are some great highlights there.

I have been thinking about this past year all week and even I have to admit that there are some shining moments, ones that I let get overshadowed by overwhelming anxiety and stress. When I put some time into thinking about the year, 2017 will be the year that I will remember for these moments:

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My life changed for the better by adopting Billie Jean. In February, when an extremely scared hound landed at my door as my very first foster through Save Our Scruff, I had zero intention of adopting a dog. I wanted to foster as that was a way I could help a great organization while also getting some quality time with dogs that I could fit with my schedule. Then as Billie Jean came to trust me and came out of her shell more and more each day, I fell head over heels for her. More than love for this incredible pup, she was good for my health. She helped me to stress less and forced me to have more balance in my life. The truth is that there are days I feel stress and anxiety are swallowing me whole and I want me up feeling as though I’m in a dark place, and yet I have no choice but to take her out for a walk. Her trust, sheer happiness and wagging tail are like a switch for me. I exhale and she reminds me that we just have to keep on keepin’ on.

airplane over BC

I got to travel and explore and make new friends. I don’t believe that if you put something out in the world that it’ll come true…but I’d become fixated on visiting Lake Tahoe, and I was lucky enough to travel there for work and it was as stunning as I hoped. The same goes for Park City. I had been intrigued by this city I’d heard so much about and I felt so fortunate when I got to ski there in some epic conditions and do one of the most incredible SUP yoga classes ever. I visited California several times again this year and fell in love with it even more. More and more, I think I’m meant to be a California girl. Belize has always, too, been on my radar and I was thrilled to go on an epic trip there with G Adventures where we went caving, made tortillas from scratch with some inspiring women, and learned drumming with locals. 

Camping with Billie Jean and Bun

I road tripped all summer long and learned to camp. I spent much of the year focusing on close-to-home getaways with Billie Jean from late spring through to the fall. From a few trips to wine country (including PEC and Niagara) to learning to camp (a new passion for me—and am thrilled about partnering with MEC for some gear I plan to continue to use regularly!), staying in Ontario and enjoying quality time with my favourite dog was perfect. With it being Canada 150, it was great to celebrate what an incredible country we live in and discovering areas I’d never been to like Norfolk County. Besides the fun of camping and exploring Ontario, I’m also giving myself props for all the driving I did this year. Truth is I prefer to be a passenger but feel more comfortable behind the wheel now and even did my first two days at a race track.

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I met Charlie Hunnam. Last year, I got to meet Taylor Lautner, this year JAX TELLER.  What can I say, I fangirl hard for some celebs. As a Sons of Anarchy fan, meeting him, I was on cloud nine. I also go to meet Nicholas Hoult and had dinner with chef Curtis Stone so it was a pretty star-studded year. Oh, and I partied on a Bacardi bus with Luis Fonsi (I still love that song Despacito!)

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I got to see Backstreet Boys in concert. Yes, I’ve seen them many, many times but it doesn’t make it any less special, haha! Front row at their show in Las Vegas cost a fortune and was an ordeal (lining up so we could nab our prime spot at the stage, ugh) but seeing them in concert makes me ridiculously giddy and happy so it was well worth it. As was seeing NKOTB in concert again. I swear I feel an endorphin rush just reminiscing about it while writing this. I got to make a deep connection with the souls (OK, hold hands briefly…) of almost every one of these boy band-ers this year, yassssssss!

NKOTB 2017

I ran two marathons and cross-trained more. After my longest break from the 42.2k distance, I ran the Chicago Marathon and Hamilton Marathon, bringing my marathon total up to eleven. While Chicago was fine and Hamilton quite terrible, and neither was the ultimate result I wanted, I am proud to have these races completed. A marathon is difficult and a lot of hard training (which I think I forget sometimes) and I have to remind myself that there once was a time I couldn’t even dream of completing such a distance.

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As for  cross-training, I still focus heavily on running but I did work in a bit more variety to my fitness. Dance classes at Dance Life X is something I adored (I grew up taking dance classes and have always loved it). I made the effort to go to yoga classes and through work I got to include workouts such as Pilates, Spinning and HIIT. With Billie Jean, I hiked more and got out into nature more. She’s good for my health in so many ways.

kick back with a tall cold one

Work including some fantastic collaborations. Work has its ups and downs but this year there were projects and partnerships I loved working on: Working with Reebok on content about running and travel. Food campaigns with Loblaws. Content with Dairy Farmers of Canada, including this super fun retro-inspired one (above) and one about the power of protein. Some fun video content with College of Kinesiologists of Ontario. And let’s not forget projects I got to include Billie Jean on such as with Dyson and Marks.

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So, what are my goals for 2018…

With just a few hours left in 2017, I see that this year wasn’t entirely without good moments. Looking ahead to 2018, I strive for more balance in my life. While I traveled less this year (which was what I aimed for), I still went on eleven trips and 12 road trips, and the time, effort and disruption to my schedule that caused is simply very stressful and overwhelming for me. I need to work on not overextending myself.

Health-wise, I intend to try to include more variety and will continue to try to improve my running. I think more dance, tennis and Pilates will be key to my happiness when it comes to working out. I will plan on some goal races, but I have not yet decided on which ones. Ideally, I’d like to do one marathon destination race. When it comes to other aspects of wellness, I will continue to work on getting better sleep, drinking more water (I have started to drink a bit more!), and eat more veggies. A little more self-care, too, in terms of keeping my negative inner voice in check. I had a wake-up call recently when a client told me some content beat up on the reader too much, and I realized that the copy was essentially how I speak to myself all the time.

For work, I aim to continue to partner with brands who align with Health & Swellness. I’ve met and worked with several people who truly understand my brand and for that, I’m proud and plan to pursue collaborations with such companies more in the new year.

For this blog, I hope to blog more about my passions. Sheer lack of time has meant I cover some interests too infrequently. I have lots of ideas and things I want to write about, but just run out of time. But if I can achieve a more manageable schedule, you can look forward to more beauty and food posts in 2018 and my ramblings…I’ll try to keep the boy band love to a minimum, I promise!

Here’s to a safe and happy goodbye to 2017, and wishing you an incredible 2018! It’s a year brimming with possibilities!

Karen xo

Lost in Paradise in the Bahamas

 

 

1 Comment December 31, 2017

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